I think you should! I don’t mean check out their finances and ask for receipts, but I do mean take some time to reflect on your friendships and relationships with people you see or work with regularly.
Friends and acquaintances come from all walks of life. Sometimes we can’t quite even remember how we became friends. (Sometimes we can’t remember why we still are, but I’m not talking about that today!). Others we are close to because of shared interests, work, children, family connections, locality etc. All friendships need some maintenance work from time to time. Today I am suggesting that you take a few moments to think about professional friends and colleagues and conduct your private mini audit.
The Balance Act
A good relationship is finely balanced. Of course, there are times in our lives when the giving is all one way; for example, if you’re having a particularly difficult time at work like facing redundancy, or being reorganised to within an inch of your life, or having a difficult time with your business. The giving may then be coming to you and you may not be in a position to reciprocate – yet. Likewise, you may be supporting a friend during a difficult time. It’s a question of give and take, at least it should be. I’ve written before how important women’s friendships are, they nurture and sustain us when the times are bad and fill us with joy when times are good. There is even an infectiousness to them which means the joy can spread between friends. Friendships are worth taking time over.
A Monday Exercise
So here’s my tip for a wee exercise (just for you-I’m not suggesting you share this) to start the week with. Grab a sheet of A4 and turn it landscape.
List three friends/good colleagues you are likely to come into contact with this week. Put their names equally spaced down the left hand side and then draw two columns. In column one, ponder for a while on what you can GIVE to those friends and colleagues this week. Use you knowledge of what is happening in their world to help you figure out what is most appropriate, and also take into account what you are able to give this week.
Your second column is what you might NEED from those friendships this week. Think through your week and what is happening for you. As you’ve just been thinking about your friends and their situation you’ll have a more realistic expectation of whether you are going to get what you need. And if realistically you realise you’re not going to get it you may need to plan in other forms of support and advice. Or you may see that the balance is skewed and that it’s time to redress that and give a little more.
You don’t need to do this exercise very often. I have found it helpful with clients though when they are feeling life is out of balance. It helps to introduce a sense of perspective, and also helps us realise that we’re not always clear about what we want and expect those close just to ‘know’. Sometimes others close to us are doing exactly the same, and maybe we need to give a little without being directly asked.
It’s what makes the world go round!
PS I wrote a wee gratitude list last year as a blog post. It was good to do. There are many more I’d now add to that list but that’s for another day!
Photo Credit: Shannon Pifko
Posted on June 6th, 2011 by Jane